Dynamic bioreactor operation: effects of packing material and mite predation on toluene removal from off-gas
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Recent studies have focused on using vapor-phase bioreactors for the treatment of volatile organic compounds from contaminated air streams. Although high removal capacities have been achieved in many studies, long-term operation is often unstable at high pollutant loadings due to biomass accumulation and drying of the packing medium. In this study, three bench-scale bioreactors were operated to determine the effect of packing material and fungal predation on toluene removal efficiency and pressure drop. Toluene elimination capacities (mass toluene removed per unit packing per unit time) above 100 g m–3 h–1 were obtained in the fungal bioreactors packed with light-weight, artificial medium, and submersion of the packing in mineral medium once per week was found to provide sufficient moisture and nutrients to the biofilm. The use of mites as fungal predators improved performance by increasing the overall mineralization of toluene to CO2, and by dislodging biomass along the bioreactor.
KeywordsVolatile Organic Compound Packing Material Mite Predation Elimination Capacity Packing Medium
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